Joel: For most of the WrestleManias so far the first match has been somewhere between “not bad” and “pretty good.” The kind of matches that are interesting when it’s the first match of the evening, but would be harder to swallow if it was further down on the card and you were starting to get tired of watching. None of them have come close to being a Match of the Night before now. WrestleMania X starts off with Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart, which is easily the best opening match up to this point, and one of the biggest highlights of WrestleMania so far. It did go on a little long (it was the longest match on the card that night) but still, if there’s a match on the card that’s going to break twenty minutes, this should be the one to do it.
The other big match worth mentioning was the ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon. Honestly in my memory of WrestleMania X, this was the main event and for the main title rather than the IC title. And watching it again, I can see why I thought that. This match really puts the concept of ladder matches on the map. It’s one of the biggest reasons to watch this show, and along with the opener match, might be the two strongest matches to appear on a single card so far.
Speaking of the main event, I was actually looking forward to getting to see this match after it kind of felt like we got a very watered down version of this idea at the previous WrestleMania. Make no mistake, the match from this WrestleMania was far better than the one from IX, but the ending where Yokozuna slips felt more like a goof than an actual win and took some of the air out of the match as a whole.
Other things to note. This is the first WrestleMania without Hulk Hogan. In fact, because it is the 10th WrestleMania, there are several “best of WrestleMania” moments that look back at previous WrestleManias. These clips seem to go out of their way to acknowledge anything Hogan did, something that’s near impossible to do when talking about WrestleManias 1-9. This is also the last WrestleMania to feature a match with Randy Savage, and while it wasn’t a terrible match to leave on, the strange stipulation that is almost, but not quite, Falls Count Anywhere, leaves the match feeling bizzare more than anything else.
Overall, pretty much any WrestleMania would feel like an improvement after IX, but it’s nice that what we got was a WrestleMania that was actually one of the better ones so far to remind us that these things can be good.
Best WrestleMania so far: This one had a vast improvement over IX, and had two of the best matches to appear on WrestleMania, but there were still a few things that felt off. The ending of the main event for example, and the convoluted rules to the “falls count anywhere” match. And the mixed tag team match has to count against this one, so I think XIII still is the strongest show overall.
Kue: This almost made up for the atrocity that came the year prior. Though the two title matches were awkwardly executed, the end result was what stood out as a defining moment. Bret Hart holding the title high, celebrating with a slew of fellow wrestlers who had backed him through all the backstage politics is an incredibly impactful image, especially in hindsight.
Bret/Owen was pretty much a damn perfect match from start to finish. Personally, it was what made me a fan of technical wrestling and an Owen Hart super fan. It’s probably the Wrestlemania match I’ve watched repeatedly most.
But there certainly wasn’t a more impactful match on the card than the Michaels/Ramon ladder match. It introduced a physicality and aggressiveness that had never been seen before in the company. Beyond that, it did wonders establishing the Kliq as credible workers.
Other than seeing the worst named guy in WWE history, Adam Bomb, the 10th anniversary of Mania was definitely a good one.
Sanders: There’s something about this Wrestlemania that I like. Yes, it’s a big improvement over Wrestlemania 9 and there’s legendary ladder match, a great opening Hart vs Hart match and the main event is pretty alright. However, the greatest thing about this one is that there’s no Hulk Hogan and the company actually took a chance on the rest of the roster to carry the show. Sure, no one seems to be quite as over as Bret Hart or hated as Yokozuna and that’s why they’re used twice in the card but still, kudos to WWF for this. Sure this might not have been a huge deal back then but from the scope of today’s WWE, a Wrestlemania that isn’t loaded with part-timers or carried by one stale top guy that the company is desperately clinging to seems completely foreign to me now.
BD: This show is the first post-Hogan-WrestleMania, and them being in a transitional time really showed, most notably when Lex Luger (the presumed successor to Hogan) lost to Yokozuna and the crowd chanted “Hogan” and Vince had to try and not look irritated on camera as he was doing commentary at the time. They tried to compensate by bringing back Roddy Piper and Mr. Perfect, who did get very good reactions, but all in all, presentation-wise, this WrestleMania fell quite flat.
The triangle situation with Lex, Bret and Yokozuna was a bit awkward, but I actually think they saved this quite well AND created a main-event star in Owen, having Owen beat Bret, who was scheduled for a title match later, in the first match. It was unexpected and fresh for the time, bizarrely having Owen win cleanly over the guy who would win the belt later that night. At the end of the night, Bret then won the belt when Yokozuna fell accidentally off the second-rope… probably the most bizarre fashion anyone’s ever won the title in at WrestleMania. Reading autobiographies and historical recounts, the basic premise was that Hart couldn’t beat Yoko at WM9 after Yoko cheat… but Hogan could… and then Hogan lost to Yokozuna, and then left, so Hogan was not around for Hart to beat and prove himself. When Hart won the way he won, and the wrestlers all went to the ring to congratulate him, the message was apparently intended to be that Bret, the new guy on top, wasn’t a superhero… he was a survivor. He wasn’t the guy who could knock down a building with his hands like Hogan was presented as, but Bret was the guy who won the matches. Having never been a huge fan of Bret, I was still a huge fan of the shift. Especially as it was done very subtly. Having Owen come out at the end and glare at his brother, the World Champion, that he just beat cleanly several hours earlier, was a cool ending as well.
Wrestling-wise though, Owen / Bret and Razor / Shawn delivered as well as most WrestleMania matches in history have. Definitely watch those, I’m sure the other guys have talked them up enough.
Tags: Bret Hart, clashy ring attire, lex lugar, Owen Hart, razer ramon, Shawn Michaels, WWF, Yokozuna